Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Compagnonnage

While I was at university, before the era of computer games, I spent quite a lot of time playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends. You would assume a virtual character and wander around a virtual countryside, encountering and dealing with various hazards as you went. There are plenty of computer games now that emulate this kind of thing, but we had to use our imaginations, aided by various chemicals, mostly alcohol.

The hazards that you would encounter would include booby-trapped locks or treasure chests, etc, the usual outcome being that if you attempted to pick them you would die, probably horribly.

The wife and I were in Tours recently, and there is there, a museum of Compagnonnage, which probably loosely translates as a guild of master craftsmen. And there, I was delighted to find, is an example of the real deal: a booby-trapped lock.

Modern laws, at least in the UK, seem to require that you ensure that burglars are coddled while they are robbing your house, and you can't install anything which might leave as much as a scratch on their poor sensitive skins. Things didn't used to be like that. In the picture below, the little cylinder at the top of the lock is a gun that shoots you if you try to pick it. The two hinged loops of steel that form an oval at the base of the handle, spring a handcuff on you (or your corpse) if you try to turn it without having unlocked it first.

I'll have five please, with the grenade and sub-machine-gun options.

2 comments:

Pearl said...

We're not allowed to hurt the little felons in the U.S., either -- except in Texas, where I believe you're allowed to shoot a person a day...

Pearl

Mark said...

I do like that - there should be a version for bikes too

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